Wildfire Information: San Mateo & Santa Cruz Counties

CZU August Lightning Complex Wildfire Resources 

If you need additional assistance in person:

  • The Recovery Resource Center is open daily except Sunday in Santa Cruz County at the Kaiser Permanente Arena located on 140 Front Street in Santa Cruz until September 30th.  Free lunch is available daily. 

If you've already registered with FEMA and need additional assistance, please fill out this PDF iconPRIVACY RELEASE FORM

Please note, FEMA granted an extension until September 12th to apply for $500 Critical Needs Assistance (CNA) for essentials if you've been impacted by the CZU fire. CNA is a one-time $500 payment per household for life-saving and life-sustaining items. This includes, but is not limited to, water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items, and fuel for transportation. Additional details including eligibility requirements can be found here. If you missed this deadline, we encourage you to still register with FEMA as there may be other benefits available to you.
  • The Red Cross may provide financial assistance to households whose homes were confirmed to have been destroyed or sustained major damage from the 2020 California Wildfires. Households may apply for financial assistance by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, select Option #4 and then follow the prompts to speak to a dedicated call agent to complete an application.
  • Tzu Chi is also offering cash to all California fire victims and you can request assistance until 9/30/3030 by calling 408-256-0571 or by registering on the website: www.tzuchi.us
  • Additional community resources can be found at Santa Cruz Relief
 
Also, If you've applied for FEMA assistance and received a response saying the application can't be processed, this is a request for additional information, not a denial of your claim. Update your damage estimates as you obtain new information because your eligibility for different programs may change dependin on your situation.

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RESOURCES AVAILABLE: On August 22, 2020, FEMA Approval of Major Disaster Declaration for California for CZU August Lightning Complex (August 2020). 

  • REGISTERING WITH FEMAFEMA Fact Sheet on Individual Assistance Programs

    • Individuals in Lake, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo Counties can register with FEMA the following ways:

      • Apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.  
      • Constituents may call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
  • LOANS FROM THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA): The SBA established a Virtual Business Recovery Center to provide personalized assistance to business owners and a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to help homeowners and renters.
    • Did you apply with FEMA?
      • To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, survivors must first contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.disasterassistance.gov
    • Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/.
    • Need help? Virtual Business Recovery Center and Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center are available as of August 24, 2020 for assistance.
      • Mondays – Fridays 9 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
      • FOCWAssistance@sba.gov
      • (916) 735-1500
    • The declaration covers Lake, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties as a result of the wildfires that began on Aug. 14, 2020.
      •  Application Filing Deadlines:
        • Physical Damage: October 21, 2020  
        • Economic Injury: May 24, 2021
    • PDF iconU.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION FACT SHEET - DISASTER LOANS
    • PDF iconHOJA DE DATOS DE LA AGENCIA FEDERAL PARA EL DESARROLLO DE LA PEQUEÑA EMPRESAPRÉSTAMOS PARA DESASTRES
  • ASSISTANCE FOR FAMERS/RANCHERS

  • MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE: Freddie Mac Single-Family disaster relief policies authorize mortgage servicers to help affected borrowers in eligible disaster areas: those federally-declared Major Disaster Areas where federal individual assistance programs have been extended. A list of these areas can be found on the FEMA’s websiteFreddie Mac's standard relief policies, which include forbearance and mortgage modifications.

  • ​HEALTHCARE OPTIONS:  - Consumers who are victims of the wildfires, lose their job (even if they do not receive health care coverage through their employer), or who suffer a significant loss of income, could still be eligible to sign up for coverage under Covered California's special enrollment period between September 1st through December 31, 2020.
    • The current enrollment period for anyone uninsured ends on August 31st.To learn more about your coverage options, visit www.CoveredCA.com or call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.  You can chat with a Covered California Service Representative or have a certified enroller call you and help you for free.
  • TAX EXTENSIONS: Victims of the California wildfires that began August 14 now have until December 15, 2020 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments with the IRS for any area designated by FEMA as qualifying for individual assistance. Additional details can be found here
  • FORWARDING YOUR MAIL: During the crisis, your mail will be rerouted to a new location if the post office is closed, but after the crisis is over, you may wish to have your mail forwarded or change your address to ensure prompt delivery of your important mail.  
  • TRACKING YOUR BALLOT: All California voters will be sent a vote-by-mail ballot with a prepaid postage return envelope for the November 3, 2020 General Election. Voters can get critical updates on their ballots through California’s official “Where’s My Ballot?” tracking tool, which will inform the voter when the ballot is mailed to you, received by the elections office, and counted. You can register for this service here.
  • PROTECTION FROM EVICTION:Many constituents in the 18th Congressional District are protected until the end of September against evictions due to nonpayment of rent, but only if there has been a loss of income due to COVID-19. You will need to notify your landlord and attach proof, such as a termination notice, cancellation of a contract, or other communication from your employer.
    • In Santa Clara County:

    • In San Mateo County:

      • Tenants who lost income due to COVID-19 are protected against evictions for nonpayment of rent through August 31 under an ordinance of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. Judge Karesh of the San Mateo County Superior Court has also issued an order suspending enforcement of unlawful detainer (eviction) actions in the county courts until October 2, although the beginning stages of an eviction may occur. More information about San Mateo County's eviction moratorium ordinance is available at https://housing.smcgov.org/covid-19-smc-eviction-regulations.
      • The text of Judge Koresh's order is available at https://www.sanmateocourt.org/documents/court_news_and_notices/082520.pdf.
    • In Santa Cruz County:

      • The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors has extended the County's moratorium on residential and commercial evictions until September 30. Tenants will need to demonstrate a loss of income due to COVID-19. The moratorium does not apply to residents and businesses located in incorporated cities, including the City of Scotts Valley.
      • Many cities within the 18th Congressional District have provided tenant protections of their own. For more information, please contact your city government or a tenant advice organization such as Project Sentinel.

    • Know your rights: If your landlord is trying to evict you despite these protections, you should contact a tenant lawyer or a legal aid organization. A list of legal aid organizations in the Bay Area is available on our website here.
  • OBTAINING NEW RECORDS:
    • Driver's License and Vital Records: https://wildfirerecovery.caloes.ca.gov/general-info/record-replacement/  
    • Social Security Card
      • SSA has added a new feature that is intended to make verifying yourself easier so that you can set up the account, It is called ID.me; if you go to www.ssa.gov scroll down and click on the icon that says my social security then instead of clicking on create an account, click on the green button that says sign in with ID.me. This routes to a third party vendor that verifies you and once that occurs, an account can be created without the questionnaire.
    • Replacing documentation from USCIS: 
    • Passport: Please note that the passport agency is experiencing extended delays due to the CODIV-19 closures. 
      • You can check the status of your application:
        • Online:
          • Use the Online Passport Status System to check your application status.
          • Status updates are available 7-10 business days after you apply or renew.
          • Receive automatic email updates on the status of your application by entering your email address after locating your pending application in the Online Passport Status System.
        • Phone: Call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 or 1-888-874-7793 (TDD/TTY) to speak to a Customer Service Representative (Se habla español) on Mondays-Fridays from 8:00am to 10:00pm Eastern Time (excluding federal holidays).
      • If you need to travel urgently, reach out to our Palo Alto District Office at 650-323-2984 to request assistance with an emergency appointment at the San Francisco Passport Agency.
  • FREE PRINTING:
    • Santa Cruz Public Library System offers free on-the-go wireless printing during the COVID-19 closures. Print from any internet-connected or WiFi-enabled device, such as a smartphone or laptop, for curbside pickup Monday-Saturday between 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Downtown Branch Library, located at 224 Church Street.
    • Please see here for additional details and updates: https://www.santacruzpl.org/pages/curbside-pickup/#wireless-printing
  • SCAM WARNING - Don't be scammed or fooled by criminals trying to defraud you while you are trying to recover. 
    • Beware of Post-Wildfire Scams
    • How you can report fraud
      • The Department of Justice encourages you to use the NCDF DISASTER COMPLAINT FORM to report:

        • criminal conduct relating to natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies;
        • hoarding or price gouging of medical items, including respirators, ventilators, disinfecting devices, sterilization services, and other protective equipment like medical gowns, face masks, and gloves; and
        • disaster fraud involving any Federal program providing financial assistance to individuals, businesses, or government entities (federal, state, or local).
    • Resources for victims of fraud
  • Free Legal Aid for Fire Victims - A legal hotline is now available for survivors of the fires in Northern California in Butte, Lake, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo Counties (additional counties may be added).  Disaster survivors facing legal issues related to the fires may call the hotline at (888) 382-3406.  Callers may also leave a message. English and Spanish speaking attorneys will be available. (PDF iconsee DLAC Joint Press Release
    • Survivors should be aware that there are some limitations on disaster legal services. For example, assistance is not available for cases that will produce a money award. Such matters can be referred for skilled lawyer representation through a State Bar of California certified lawyer referral service in your area.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

On August 18, 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency due to fires raging across the state.San Mateo County Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency As Crews Battle Wildfires near Loma Mar, South Coast areas

LOCAL RESOURCES FOR WILDFIRE UPDATES: 

 

  • View the most current evacuation information HERE and the searchable map of the zones can be found here
    • San Mateo County Evacuation Centers

    • Santa Clara County Evacuation Centers

    • Santa Cruz County Evacuation Centers (please check here for current capacity and additional resources). You can also call the new hotline for hotel evacuees at 831-454-2181 or e-mail czuhotels@santacruzcounty.us for resources and guidance.  Information on how hotel evacuees can apply online can be found here. 

      • Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds - 2601 E. Lake Ave, Watsonville

        • You can check the road closures here
        • From the USPS  -  Check here for current closures. 

          • For updates on Twitter: @auggiedoggie28
    • Red Cross (accommodations for evacuees): 1-866-272-2237

    • Assistance for evacuating animals: 
      • New shelter for large animals @ The Cow Palace. Contact the San Mateo County Large Animal Evacuation Group for assistance.
        • Laura: 650-450-0520
        • Robin: 650-450-0516
        • Emilie: 650-773-8780
      • LARGE ANIMAL EVAC information from Municipal Advisory Council - contact Half Moon Bay Feed and Fuel: LAURA @ 650-450-0520, ROBIN @ 650-450-0516, EMILIE @ 650-773-8780

      • Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA are providing assistance to pet owners affected by the fires and evacuations in San Mateo County. Evacuated pet owners who need sheltering for their animals can bring them to their shelter at 12 Airport Blvd in San Mateo. Please call 650-340-7022 for questions.

      • If you or anyone you know are in an evacuation zone in Santa Cruz County and need assistance getting out, please call Lift Line (831) 688- 9663. They have vehicles that can accommodate special needs and small pets.You can also try the Santa Cruz County Animal Control at 831-471-1182. Larger livestock owners can call Equine Evacuation at 831-331-6227.

  • Sign up for updates:
  • Check for Outages:
  • Check on the current Damage Assessment Map - Santa Cruz County
  • Check in with Friends:
  • Donations:
    • Community members are advised not to donate durable goods or food during disasters. However, Santa Cruz County welcomes contributions of large, family-sized tents at the Emeline Warehouse, 1082 Emeline in Santa Cruz (rear of the property behind 1080 Emeline Health Clinic).
    • Red Cross Donations

CALIFORNIA RESOURCES FOR WILDFIRES:

Questions about how you can prevent smoke from endangering your health?

  • Pay attention to local air quality reports. As smoke gets worse, the concentration of particles in the air increases – and so should the steps you take to protect yourself. Air quality reports are available through local news media, your local air agency or on airnow.gov.
  • Dust masks aren’t enough! Paper “dust” masks or surgical masks will not protect your lungs from the fine particles in wildfire smoke. Scarves or bandanas (wet or dry) won’t help, either. Particulate masks known as N-95 or P-100 respirators will help, but they must fit well and be used correctly. They are sold at many hardware and home repair stores and online.
  • What to do before, during, and after a wildfire: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/wildfires/index.asp